There was an empty storefront on Ross Street and patio season is fast approaching.
The scenario presented an irresistible challenge for four local entrepreneurs and downtown boosters, who recently raced against time to open the new restaurant Tribe at 4930-50th St.
When the 50 West Bistro closed its doors near the end of March, “we thought, can we open (another) restaurant here in 10 days?” recalled Paul Harris.
It was a tall order that would test of all their resources. “But we thought, what the heck, we’re all entrepreneurs — we’re going to go for it,” said Harris.
Harris and Terry Warke (co-owners of Sunworks, the white gallery and the upstairs Coconut Room Cafe, all on Ross Street), and their friends Mahziar Peyrow and Murray Grovet (co-owners of One Eleven Grill), set about painting, de-wallpapering, plastering, bar-building and decorating to transform the space into a more upscale, contemporary setting.
They created new signage. Warke began test cooking. The partners soon came up with an eclectic menu, based on flatbread, tapas, and an a-la-carte fusion of international cuisine. Harris said the name Tribe derives from the philosophy that “while we are all different, we come together over food and drink.”
The four pulled together a team of serving and kitchen staff — and just made their self-imposed deadline. “We did start our staff training on the 10th day,” recalled Harris.
Tribe now employs 12-15 workers and fills one of two side-by-side empty commercial spaces on Ross Street. The 60-seat restaurant that’s receiving positive customers reviews, is going to eventually spill into the available space next-door when the partners tear open the dividing wall to expand to 120 seats.
Meanwhile, a sidewalk seating area is also being designed for Tribe. After the Ross Street Patio is created in early May, Tribe patrons will be able to enjoy music from the outdoor music series this summer, said Harris.
All four entrepreneurs (Peyrow owns Midtown Meats and he and Grovet ran the now closed Urban Room across from City Hall) have been working for years to turn Red Deer’s downtown into an energetic mix of restaurants and retail. They believes it’s finally getting there, with Hudsons, To the Lost, Red Boar Smokery, Chill Out Cafe and Bakery, Forgotten Alley, and businesses, such as the Housewarmings store linking up along Ross Street to create a happening scene.
The entrepreneurs had spoken for years about pooling their different strengths and working together, and are excited the moment has finally arrived. “We’re all committed big-time” — to Tribe, and to ensuring that Red Deer’s downtown culture continues to thrive, said Peyrow.